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Electricity Minister K. Krishnankutty has put on hold a Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) decision to use spot billing machines supplied by Yes Bank for billing and payment collection purposes.

Mr. Krishnankutty said on Sunday that the KSEB chairman and managing director Rajan Khobragade has been directed to ‘‘temporarily cancel” the decision to strike a deal with Yes Bank in this regard. Follow-up action would be taken after careful study of the spot billing machines of the bank and the mode of transaction, the Minister added.

Also read |Prepaid smart metering: KSEB clears proposal for installing 37 lakh meters in Phase I

Bill payments

Mr. Krishnankutty’s announcement came on the heels of a charge that electricity bill payments were being routed through a private bank.

The KSEB had issued orders on January 11 for renting 200 newThe KSEB had issued orders on January 11 for renting 200 new android-based PDA/PoS machines for spot-billing, supplied by Yes Bank on a pilot basis for six months. The monthly rent per machine was fixed at ₹90 plus tax.

The full-time directors of the KSEB at a December 28 meeting, also gave the go-ahead for opening a ‘‘pooling account’ in Yes Bank for collecting the payments received through these machines. Each day’s collection would be transferred to the KSEB’s SBI account on the next day (T+1th day, according to the order).

Android app

A billing android app developed by Aceware Fintech Services Pvt Ltd would be used in the PDA machines for generating the electricity bills and to collect the amount. Further, the rent paid to Yes Bank would be accounted in the operations and maintenance expenses of the KSEB.

All these decisions had been finalised on the grounds that ‘‘many’‘ of the button-type PDA machines used for spot billing were faulty and could not be replaced due to shortage of spare parts. ‘‘In this regard, M/s Yes bank had submitted a proposal for the supply of android-based PDA machines on a monthly rent basis of ₹90,’‘ the KSEB order noted.

The decision to use the bank, however, kicked up a controversy, prompting the Minister to suspend the deal.

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